A Call for Decency
When I was in high school my grandparents, unexpectedly, paid to send me on a trip to Europe. While in London, I visited Hyde Park and its famous “Speaker’s Corner” where just about anyone could get up on a soapbox (literally) and scream about anything. I listened one afternoon to one person after another, ranging in topic form the literate and interesting to fun and silly and to the fascinating and crazy. I mean really wackadoodle, off the wall, bonkers.
It used to be that talking on a corner or trying to hand out leaflets was all such crazed people could do. And then came the internet. One “area” of the internet that used to be popular was known as the “usenet” where there were tens of thousands of newsgroups. Usenet is still there, but it has lost its popularity. My internet service provider doesn’t even allow free access to it.
Usenet was famous for allowing people access to bootlegged software and porn. It also had groups where people could defend their wackadoodle interpretations of reality: frequently, LOUDLY, and at extreme length.
But the internet was new and relatively few people accessed it. Fewer still accessed usenet. Fewer still would actually go to a wackadoodle’s rants. Today, newsgroups have been replaced with forums and blogs. It seems like everyone is on them and the crazed and wackadoodle often have several blogs. And they still think they can win you over to their insanity through loooooong posts filled with coincidence which they take to be “evidence” that proves their insanity isn’t really insane.
Unfortunately, the omnipresence of the crazed, combined with the 24-hour news cycle of the media, has resulted in the media actually consulting the crazed and wackadoodleâ€”who would have been laughed at or pitied in the pastâ€”providing them with a veneer of validity by being quoted on major news websites, on TV, and in newpapers.
Kenaz Filan, author of books such asÂ The New Orleans Voodoo Handbook and Vodou Money Magic has made what I consider a brilliant post on the subject which you can read HERE. Filan is far more eloquent than I am in this discussion.
I concur with Filan’s point of view. I would add that when it comes to magickal groups, be wary of claims. Unless someone originated a group from scratch or there is a limited group hierarchy, nobody speaks for the entire tradition. No individual speaks for all Witches, all Pagans, all ceremonial magicians, all Golden Dawn groups, all Chaos magick groups, etc.
Unfortunately, with the advent of easily accessible information via the internet, people will broadcast whatever they desire. This has two results. First, it means that it is highly likely that if you’re on the internet you may suffer from “information overload.” You get so much information it’s difficult to determine what is valid. This confusion may, in some instances, cause an acceptance of the first thing you hear rather than the truth. That’s why many internet rumors race across the world convincing people that a boy in Oshkosh will make a penny for every email he receives in order to pay for his Cancer treatment or some obscure group is trying to take over the entire Golden Dawn!
The second thing this means is that each of us, unfortunately, needs to check claims out. Go to original sources. Ask for proof. One of the things I like to say at workshops is, “Don’t take my word for it. Check it out yourself.” The same should be true of just about anything you see on blogs, forums, or supposed news sites that are really just partisan propaganda distribution tools.
As Mulder guessed on “The X-Files,” the truth is out there. Unfortunately, we each have to verify it for ourselves.
In the meantime, let’s tone it back. Bloggers, in the name of decency, check your sources. Sure, repeat what is valid, but not every tiny thing is a disaster of biblical proportion! If we just tone it back the world will, I believe, become better. In the words of L. A.’s Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”
Call in Saturday Night
You can hear me being interviewed and communicate directly with me this coming Saturday, August 13. I’m scheduled to appear with Steve McManus on his Forbidden America blogtalk internet radio show. You can find out about Steve on thisÂ LINK. You can find out about his show,Â HERE. And read about my upcoming appearance by clicking on thisÂ LINK. The show is on at 11:00 p.m. Eastern (8:00 p.m. Pacific). The phone number is 1-661-449-9322.